Translators helping alleviate non-English speakers’ fears at vaccination clinics

Published: Apr. 4, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Advocates say part of addressing the racial gap in vaccinations is making sure people who don’t speak English have the right information about the vaccine at vaccination clinics.

Data shows communities of color in Vermont are 13% less vaccinated than white communities, which is why the state has opened up vaccination clinics, specifically for Black, Indigenous and people of color.

In southern Vermont, the Windham County NAACP is teaming up with the Adult Learning Center to provide translators at vaccination clinics. The NAACP tells WCAX News out of 100 people who got vaccinated at their first clinic, 50% did not speak English as a first language.

They say some people of color, particularly migrant workers who may fear deportation, may be hesitant to show up to a clinic set up by the state government.

The NAACP’s Second Vice President Wichie Artu says having someone there who speaks their language and can explain how the process works can really alleviate those fears.

“I know a very specific family in town who, without a translator there, they would be really hesitant and they probably wouldn’t have gotten the vaccine,” Artu said. “But the fact that we had a translator there that could walk them through the whole process and at any point, they knew what was going on, I think served a really big purpose in being able to make them feel welcomed and safe and informed.”

The NAACP says so far they’ve provided translators for Mandarin, Spanish and American Sign Language.

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